Italians on Italians
Beyond Toscano

Dante: scholar or superhero?

Ask any Italian 'who wears red, has a big nose and a laurel wreath?' and most will answer 'Dante' in an instant. It may seem like a strange thing to say – especially of a poet, but the impact Tuscany’s Dante Aligheri has had on the modern psyche is far greater than he could ever have imagined hundreds of years ago when he first put pen to paper.
The Divine Comedy – where he introduces the idea of ‘Inferno’ and nine rings of hell on Earth – is his most famous work, earning him a reputation as the father of the Italian language. It's a notion helped by the fact that most Italian children study the works of Dante at school. 
Modern culture has referenced Dante and the themes of Inferno for generations. His image has appeared on Italian currency, streets, wine and olive oil have all been named after him, while movies, video games and music have brought to life ideas from his works.  Whether you've read his works or not, it seems the future of Dante's legacy is secure for years to come.